Words are magic spells.
Out of thin air, words cast our identities. They weave stories about where we’ve been and who we’re capable of becoming. They can mend or break a heart. They move millions to create beauty and fight for justice or to self-destruct.
Words bubble, swirl, crackle, and float through our minds relentlessly, working overtime to remind us what we’re supposed to do and want and say and be afraid of.
And all of this is, ultimately, fabrication.
Still, I have a love affair with words. They are my constant companion and creative outlet, and the foundation of my livelihood.
In spite of, or perhaps because of this, I find myself needing a break from the endless stream of thoughts and resultant stress – both positive and negative – words create.
Like most people, I’ve tried all the common meditation techniques and found instructions like “clear your mind and focus on the breath” to be irritatingly futile at best.
Through a lot of trial and error, I finally landed on a meditative focus point that actually works for me:
I let my mind’s eye and emotions and sensations wander freely and unchecked. I don’t even really pay attention to my breath, because I usually find that distracting and stressful.
My only intention is to immediately intercept any verbal thoughts that begin forming. It’s not about catching myself out, it’s about giving myself a desperately-needed break from thinking.
(Coaxing myself to stop mentally composing this post while meditating this morning was a tricky one.)
It’s the ultimate vacation.
I feel more profoundly restored after 90 seconds of that inner silence than I do after a weeklong getaway with my incessant thoughts riding shotgun.
Put on your favorite relaxing music, or pick from something on my Spotify meditation playlist, and give it a try.
Remember your only intention: no words.
Let me know how it goes! Or don’t, and just savor the silence.
P.S. The photo accompanying this post is one of the top results that comes up when you search “quiet.” It is stylistically wrong but it made me giggle, which will always win in the end (and also explains why I am not a graphic designer).